Don’t wait until it’s time to sign the contract to educate yourself about the intricacies of buying a home. Failing to plan properly for one of the most expensive and largest purchases you’ll ever make can lead to many regrets and problems later on.
First-time buyers are especially vulnerable to making mistakes if they don’t educate themselves beforehand. Even if you’ve purchased one or more homes in the past, it’s a good idea to educate yourself all over again to discover changes that have taken place in the real estate market.
Choose the type of mortgage that’s best for you – a VA, FHA or USDA. There’s also the question of whether or not you should apply for an ARM (Adjustable-Rate Mortgage) or a fixed rate. Your real estate agent and/or lender should be a great resource for those answers.
Execute a study of real estate in the neighborhood you like and want to purchase in. Check out whether homes are selling fast or lagging behind on the market. If the latter is true, find out why. There may be electrical towers in the neighborhood or plumbing problems.
Take time to figure out the maximum mortgage payment you’ll be able to easily make with your current salary and bills. Be sure to check your credit reports, scores and assess your credit situation. Improve it before you apply for a home if needed.
Online tools to help you assess your current financial situation are abundant. Your computer and internet connection can help you educate yourself so you’re not blindsided by the buying process.
Active real estate agents are great resources to educate you on the home buying process and there are also classes that can educate you on the right moves to make in your area. Take advantage of everything you can to give yourself an advantage in the real estate market.
Look closely at the obligations on the contract you may sign with a real estate agent. Be aware of what you’re signing at all times when it comes to buying a home. You could be liable for commissions paid to the real estate agent even if they don’t help you with the transaction if you don’t go over the contract with a fine-tooth comb.
Interview your possible real estate agent as you would anyone who goes to work for you. Ask, “How unique are you in the real estate marketplace?” Remember, you’re learning and their job is to make the path easier by helping to educate you about the process.
Be sure to read everything carefully and get another opinion from someone you trust who knows the ins and outs of the real estate business. Some real estate agents charge fees for locating properties for you and some don’t. Get to know your real estate agent and expect the process to be seamless from the search to the day you sign the contract.
Finally, remember that planning to purchase a home is a bit like planning for the birth of a baby. Although you’ll get plenty of “advice” from others, you should be comfortable with the decisions you make at all times.
Choose your real estate agent well. The right real estate agent will lead you to your dream home. But, it’s also important to make your concerns known to your real estate agent and to educate yourself so you can make a smart decision.